What Does TMS Treatment Feel Like?

What Does TMS Treatment Feel Like?

We at Salience often get many questions regarding what TMS Treatment feels like and if there are any physical or lingering side effects. The short answer? TMS Treatment is well-tolerated, low-risk, and has no known long-term side effects. In reading more about TMS treatment, you’ll see why it’s highly effective in treating the source of your diagnosis, not just its symptoms.

What is TMS Treatment, and Why Is It Different?

Our brains are organized into networks, and each network is responsible for different daily functions. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Treatment strengthens and enhances these connections within certain parts of the brain using MRI strength pulses, which is a safe and effective way to treat the critical underlying brain dysfunction of mood disorders like depression. By getting to the root of your symptoms, we see can see significant improvement.

Meet Your Treatment Team

Your dedicated team of health professionals will be with you every step of the way, starting with a consultation with your Patient Advocate (PA). During this time, you learn all relevant facts about TMS treatment and can ask any questions. Our PAs are very well-trained and knowledgeable and will educate you ahead of treatment with a complete understanding of the process and what to expect during your rTMS treatment. Patients also consult with one of our psychiatrists before starting TMS treatment.

The Treatment Coordinators (TCs) are with patients throughout the entire treatment course and can answer any questions that may arise. Our TCs measure patients’ progress weekly and send the consulting psychiatrist a weekly report. The patients can choose to have additional physicians or therapists receive these weekly progress reports.

Finding Your Exact TMS Treatment Prescription

To better understand what treatment feels like, let’s first talk about what the treatment process entails. After a consultation with our Patient Advocate team, you will have your first appointment with our highly trained treatment team alongside your psychiatrist. They will work together to identify the treatment location and determine your individual “prescription.” This first-day process is the longest appointment you will experience. Subsequent treatments will be completed in a much briefer daily encounter. During sessions, you’ll recline in a comfortable chair with a small magnetic coil resting lightly on your forehead in that spot determined by your treatment team.  These treatments usually take about eleven minutes from beginning to end; on average, each patient will complete thirty-six sessions. Your team will administer weekly clinical scales and send the results to your physician.

What the Patient Feels During and After Treatment

During treatment, patients will hear a clicking sound and feel a tapping sensation at the prescription location, which varies in intensity as determined by your Treatment Coordinator during your first visit. This tapping is the magnetic pulses activating the parts of your brain that are often associated with mood disorders. While some patients have no side effects, others report mild headaches or scalp discomfort at the treatment site. These potential short-term side effects often subside within 2-3 weeks as the patient acclimates to treatment and can be relieved with over-the-counter medication. In addition, patients can drive themselves to and from treatments, as no recovery time is needed after sessions are completed.

Salience has performed over 500,000 TMS Treatments, and our patient data shows less than a 2% dropout rate within the last year due to experiencing discomfort during treatments. Throughout the entire treatment process, our dedicated health professionals work closely with patients to execute a proprietary comprehensive treatment plan,  monitor your clinical progress, report and record any feelings of discomfort, and make any changes necessary to provide you with a comfortable and safe treatment experience. Comfort adjustments may include interventions such as adjusting coil placements, lowering the pulse threshold, or providing treatment pads. Our team is there to assist you in ensuring the most significant level of comfort.

Are ECT and TMS the Same Thing?

It is crucial to note that TMS Therapy and Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) are two completely different procedures. ECT is a more invasive procedure during which an electric current is briefly applied to the brain and results in a generalized seizure. This treatment is performed in a hospital facility and requires general anesthesia.  Unlike ECT, TMS does not require anesthesia, is not performed in a hospital, and has no recovery time. Patients can return to normal activities immediately following TMS treatment. For more information, see our blog on TMS vs. ECT.


  • Office-Based
  • No cognitive impairment
  • No sedation or anesthesia
  • No systemic side-effects
  • Focal stimulation


  • Often starts with a period of hospitalization
  • Cognitive impairment is common
  • Inducing a generalized seizure
  • Sedation anesthesia
  • Severe side effects

The Salience Promise

As a company, Salience strives to make the treatment experience as comfortable as possible for our patients. Our treatment team goes through extensive training to deliver a high level of skill in delivering TMS Treatment and give patients the best chance for success. Our goal is to provide the highest possible level of care with the greatest comfort for our patients.

We continue to support patients after treatment as well. Your treatment team will follow up with you 60-90 days after your completed treatment to check in and see how you are doing. We work hard to ensure our patients have a great TMS treatment experience from beginning to end.

To learn more about TMS treatment and its benefits, please visit www.SalienceNeuro.com.